The growth of the asset management industry has raised concerns about its potential impacts on financial stability. This column assesses the systemic risk created by fund managers’ incentive problems and a first-mover advantage for end investors. Fund flows and fund ownership affect asset prices, and fund managers’ behaviour can amplify risks. This lends support to the expansion and strengthening of industry oversight, both at the individual fund and market levels.
Gaston Gelos, Hiroko Oura, 25 July 2015
Jerry Tsai, Jessica Wachter, 11 June 2015
The high equity premium and high volatility in equity markets have long been a puzzle. This column discusses how rare, economy-wide disasters can account for this conundrum, as well as for patterns in prices, consumption, and interest rates during the Great Recession.
Toby Nangle, 09 May 2015
The recent remarkably low interest rates have puzzled economists. The standard explanation rests on the extraordinary manoeuvres of the world’s largest central banks. This column argues, however, that it is due to economic developments, specifically globalisation and the collapse in labour power in the west.
Christiane Baumeister, Lutz Kilian, 19 November 2014
Futures prices are a potentially valuable source of information about market expectations of asset prices. This column discusses a general approach to recovering this expectation when there is no agreement on the nature of the time-varying risk premium contained in futures prices. The authors illustrate this approach by tackling the long-standing problem of how to recover the market expectation of the price of crude oil.
Charles Goodhart, Philipp Erfurth, 03 November 2014
There has been a long-term downward trend in labour’s share of national income, depressing both demand and inflation, and thus prompting ever more expansionary monetary policies. This column argues that, while understandable in a short-term business cycle context, this has exacerbated longer-term trends, increasing inequality and financial distortions. Perhaps the most fundamental problem has been over-reliance on debt finance. The authors propose policies to raise the share of equity finance in housing markets; such reforms could be extended to other sectors of the economy.
Giovanni Cespa, Xavier Vives, 22 April 2014
Since capital flows to and from hedge funds are strongly related to past performance, an exogenous liquidity shock can trigger a vicious cycle of outflows and declining performance. Therefore, ‘noise’ trades – usually thought of as erratic – may in fact be persistent. Based on recent research, this column argues that there can be multiple equilibria with different levels of liquidity and informational efficiency, and that the high-information equilibrium can under certain conditions be unstable. The model provides a lens through which to interpret the ‘Quant Meltdown’ of August 2007 and the recent financial crisis.
Joshua Aizenman, Mahir Binici, Michael Hutchison, 04 April 2014
In 2013, policymakers began discussing when and how to ‘taper’ the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing policy. This column presents evidence on the effect of Fed officials’ public statements on emerging-market financial conditions. Statements by Chairman Bernanke had a large effect on asset prices, whereas the market largely ignored statements by Fed Presidents. Emerging markets with stronger fundamentals experienced larger stock-market declines, larger increases in credit default swap spreads, and larger currency depreciations than countries with weaker fundamentals.
Eduardo Olaberría, 07 December 2013
Policymakers have long been concerned that large capital inflows are associated with asset-price booms. This column presents recent research showing that the composition of capital inflows also matters. The association between capital inflows and asset-price booms is about twice as strong for debt-related than for equity-related investment. Policymakers should therefore pay attention to the composition of capital inflows, since debt-related inflows may still undermine financial stability even if they do not result in an overall current-account deficit.
Indraneel Chakraborty, Itay Goldstein, Andrew MacKinlay, 25 November 2013
Higher asset prices increase the value of firms’ collateral, strengthen banks’ balance sheets, and increase households’ wealth. These considerations perhaps motivated the Federal Reserve’s intervention to support the housing market. However, higher housing prices may also lead banks to reallocate their portfolios from commercial and industrial loans to real-estate loans. This column presents the first evidence on this crowding-out effect. When housing prices increase, banks on average reduce commercial lending and increase interest rates, leading related firms to cut back on investment.
Yuming Fu, Wenlan Qian, Bernard Yeung, 07 November 2013
Financial transaction taxes are designed to raise revenue and stabilise financial markets, but their effect on market volatility is controversial. This column presents evidence from the sudden reintroduction of stamp duty on new housing projects in Singapore. Overall trading volume declined while volatility increased. These effects were strongest for previously underpriced projects, consistent with the hypothesis that informed speculators were more strongly discouraged by the tax than noise traders. This suggests that financial transaction taxes may reduce the informativeness of asset prices.
Tarun Ramadorai, 24 October 2013
The 2013 Nobel laureates’ work has greatly improved our understanding of asset markets. Their blend of rigorous statistical analysis, economic theory, and respect for ‘market wisdom’ has provided a huge impetus to the field of empirical asset pricing – one of the most important and active areas of economics research. The insights gained in this field have important real-world implications, helping individuals to make better investment decisions and policymakers to design more appropriate financial regulations.
Roger Farmer, Carine Nourry, Alain Venditti, 13 January 2013
Existing literature continues to be unable to offer a convincing explanation for the volatility of the stochastic discount factor in real world data. This paper provides such an explanation, demonstrating that financial markets, by their very nature, cannot be Pareto efficient except by chance. Although individuals in our model are rational; markets are not.
Alberto Martin, Jaume Ventura, 16 February 2011
Modern economies often experience large movements in asset prices that have significant macroeconomic effects. Yet many of these movements in asset prices seem unrelated to economic fundamentals and are often termed “bubbles”. This column explains how recent advances in the theory of rational bubbles can help us to understand these movements in asset prices and their macroeconomic implications.
Robert Barro, Emi Nakamura, Jón Steinsson, Jose Ursua, 08 July 2010
Previous research suggests that the potential for rare, but large, economic disasters helps explain the equity-premium and related asset-pricing puzzles. This column presents evidence from a new empirical model of consumption disasters and discusses a range of assumptions required for the model to predict the observed long-run average equity premium.
Axel Leijonhufvud, 13 May 2008
In CEPR Policy Insight No. 23, Axel Leijonhufvud asks not what we have learnt, but what we should have learnt from Keynes in light of the current financial turmoil.
Axel Leijonhufvud, 13 May 2008
The US Federal Reserve has used unorthodox policy instruments to reduce recent financial turmoil. In this column, the author of CEPR Policy Insight 23 argues that the crisis raises more fundamental questions about core tenets of modern monetary orthodoxy – inflation targeting and central bank independence.
Katrin Assenmacher-Wesche, Stefan Gerlach, 12 March 2008
Many observers have argued that central banks should use monetary policy to prevent the rise of asset price bubbles. Recent research shows that monetary policy is too costly and too slow to serve such a role.